December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

With an emphasis on the "new". Have a great New Year's! Whether it is a relaxing night at home, out to dinner with friends, or dancing up a storm in the middle of Times Square (my own personal nightmare). Matt and I will be staying on this side of the East River in Brooklyn and I couldn't be happier about it.

Much cheer, champagne, noise-makers, good wine, delicious food and love to you and yours tonight and see you in 2010!

December 30, 2009

2 1/2 Hours in the Air...

No, I'm not going on a plane. Not for me. My New Year's Eve will be spent in a cute dress in a warm cozy Italian restaurant here in Brooklyn. I will be spending the shortest amount of time outside possible. Unlike the location of these ads above. One night a few weeks ago I spent almost an hour staring at these ads in the 59th Street subway station. I know, I agree, that's about 45 minutes too long to be underground. I got to check out each one that was lined up against the wall downstairs while waiting for the 4/5 downtown train. Considering I was beyond irate about waiting for the train, the ads kept me entertained. I have never been to St. Petersburg or Clearwater and I still don't think I have any desire to go (sorry, travel bureau of St. Petes/Clearwater). I did think the ads were pretty fantastic though. It's funny because they really did pick the best of the worst parts of NYC. Sometimes New Yorkers get stuck looking at terrible ads that were supposed to have been "made for them". Usually they end up poking fun at the subway crowd. There is so much more to poke fun of. And this ad agency did a fantastic job.

December 23, 2009

My Gift to You.

This drawing was made possible by myself and my trusty Sharpie ultra fine pen

Before heading to New England for Christmas with Matt’s family and an impromptu family gathering of my own later in the weekend (my little cousin’s 12th birthday party), I wanted to leave a gift for you dear readers. A gift to have a great LONG weekend. To sincerely enjoy time with friends or family. To enjoy your Christmas turkey or Chinese food. To enjoy waking up to presents or to a trip to the movies. To go ice skating or build sandcastles. To just relax. To let the stress of the year melt away with last weekend’s Northeast snowstorm.

I am hoping to get a couple of more posts up next week before the new year brings some new items to the blog (more to come on that). 2010 is the year to “do it”. Call it the Nike year, if you will.

Anyhow, have a wonderful holiday weekend, eat some good food and don’t worry about the fact that you haven’t worked out in 5 days (like myself. Eek!!!).

December 21, 2009


Oh how I wish this cute lil' pig was around when I was a kid. Who am I kidding?! I love reading the Olivia books now, at the almost ripe age of 30. With the cleanliness of a graphic designer who loves their white space, the eye of a skilled illustrator and humor of a fantastic writer, Ian Falconer, took the love and inspiration he found in his newborn niece (named what else, but Olivia!) and started a whole series of books for kids. They are funny, smart, and clean. Just how I like my kids' books.

I had so much fun picking out one of them for Matt's youngest niece this year for Christmas. Hopefully she won't groan when she opens up one of her gifts and sees a book. I vaguely remember not always loving getting books as gifts when I was a kid. Now? Seriously, just take me to Barnes & Noble for a field trip and I am happy as a clam. And hopefully she remembers one of our gifts to her and her sister last year was Olivia Helps with Christmas. Luckily she doesn't read my blog (or even READ yet...she's only 3) so I know she won't have the surprise of one of her gifts spoiled. She loves all things having to do with making music so I thought Falconer's latest Olivia Forms a Band would be perfect for her! I of course had to flip through it a few times before wrapping it last night. Perhaps next year (or next birthday) will bring her the Olivia Counts book (last image above).

As someone who has been wanting to write, illustrate and actually publish their own children's book since the age of 8, when I wrote about and drew some frogs, Falconer is an inspiration!

December 17, 2009

Flatbush Farm & Bar(n).

Oh Brooklyn, how I love thee. I feel like I wax poetic way too much about a borough that I haven't even lived in for two years yet. I apologize. I know some might be completely over hearing about it, but I am not. I love the feel that all of the neighborhoods have - they don't blend together as much as the ones in Manhattan can seem to do. There is really a distinct aura in each. I feel so fortunate to have REALLY explored almost all of Brooklyn thanks to Matt who was raised in the BK. We love checking out new places not just in our own neighborhood. It is definitely always an adventure and we wouldn't have it any other way. Example A: we once spent almost an hour driving around Crown Heights looking for jerk chicken at a place that had their grill OUTSIDE of their shop. I kid you not. Matt would not stop unless he saw smoke and the smell of grilling spicy poultry from the street.

Speaking of being in our neighborhood, we have a small list of "places to try" and this is one of them. Flatbush Farm. I love the signage and have heard their brunch is pretty spectacular. Add that to the fact they go local and organic with almost all of their offerings and what's not to love? They have this wonderful "new rustic" (I just coined that myself) quality to their website as well as their interior it seems from their photos. A few samples above.

December 16, 2009

Partners & Spade.

Is it me or are sketches sometimes more fun to look at than the final artwork or actual photos? There is something raw and wonderful about hand-drawing. In fact, my sketchbook from senior year in college was one of the pieces that I used to bring out to my first interviews post-graduation. It was one of the last things I showed and used to get great feedback from my interviewees. So many people in this day and age (even people who graduated when I did from design school though not Syracuse) just jump straight to the computer when they get a new assignment. To this day, as it has been since the day I started graphic designing, I MUST start all projects with paper and pen in hand. It's an integral step for me. Throw me right on the computer and I am borderline lost. Because of this love of sketching, I love to look at OTHER people's sketches. Most artist showcases in museums have a small section of their sketches. I think you can tell so much about the artist through them. It's their first ideas! It's the less perfect but sometimes better thoughts coming through. I know in the case of design, its usually the best ideas. It's before marketing has had their hands in it, sales has thrown in their two cents and also printing logistics.

In honor of sketches, here is a fantastic grouping of them from Partners & Spade's website. In order to share with possible customers their store's collection, they have sketched out all of the pieces in black and white under "store inventory". Online it's actually a horizontal scroll through (I have cut it into segments so you can see it all). Definitely click on each image above to get a larger view!

December 15, 2009

Wrap Me Up in the Container Store.

Well, not really IN the Container Store but IN their wrapping paper. It is always my go-to store for wrapping gifts no matter what the occasion or season. Yes, that's right, I will take the local train on my way home, stop at a station just 4 away from my office, then walk an extra 5 blocks and then get BACK on the train to actually go home. All in the name of fabulously designer wrapping paper. I know, I have a disease. I can't help it, though. It is not that cutesy and cheesy nonsense they sell at most CVSs or DuaneReades or any other store. It is marvelous and affordable and DESIGNED. Some of my favorites are above. I love the simplicity of the red dots, that to me, look like and resemble Rudolph's nose. How cute? I sent Matt two of these images so when he stops by the Container Store later he can pick one up. He asked why he couldn't pick one out himself and I told him that we should leave the pattern-choosing to the designer in the household.

Growing up I used to love (and actually STILL love) wrapping presents. It was almost more fun than picking out the gifts themselves. I would walk downstairs and open up the "wrapping" drawer in the wooden dresser (which always stuck for some reason). My little hand would reach in and pick out my favorite paper at the time and then hijack the white box that had 8 different colors of curling ribbon coming out of it. Next stop was the kitchen drawer to get the scissors and tape. Last stop? My room to assemble and wrap! I of course would usually forget to return the scissors and tape to the kitchen and inevitable would hear my Mom asking for it the next day when SHE needed to wrap presents.

Happy wrapping this season!

December 14, 2009

Dallas Shaw: Illustrator.

Being part of the Pingg Designer Series is something that I love, though something I need to work on adding more work to. It is a unique way to get my designs and illustrations out to the masses in hopes of one day getting some commissioned illustrated pieces. Just another item to add to my ever-growing personal "creative to do". You all will be happy to know that I have now used my shiny new liquid watercolors and set to work about once a week (for the past two weeks) playing with some painting. Yeah! Hopefully will have some art to share in the next couple of weeks. I am LITERALLY just playing and getting used to using brushes and paints again (its been over a year).

Long story short, I was on the Pingg website and was looking through the other designers/illustrators galleries and came upon Dallas Shaw. Her watercolor work is great! Check it all out here (and some samples above).


Flipping through the latest Real Simple magazine I came across an ad for these fun popsicles. I know it seems like the last thing you would want to eat now that the northeast winter has settled in for the next few months, BUT when those spring temperatures roll in I want to be ready with these. It brings me back to my childhood and the popsicle holders that we used to fill with orange juice or KoolAid and freeze and stand and wait around the freezer for the moment they were solid. No one wants to take the lid off of one of those and watch the half-frozen popsicle drip to the ground. Well, this nifty invention called Zoku (and exclusively for Williams-Sonoma) would amaze even the child-at-heart. Only about minutes in this fun little machine (which is used OUTSIDE of the freezer) produces a ready-to-eat popsicle.

December 10, 2009

2010: Pantone of the Year

It's official, 15-5519 is Pantone's color of the year. Read all about its uplifting and tranquil properties of 2010's Turquoise here and here.

December 9, 2009

Pretty Packages.

I have no idea how any of these smell but there is something pretty outrageous about the packaging. Outrageous in a good way, of course, so I had to share. Loving the patterns, typography and colors in these three: Very Hollywood by Michael Kors, Brown Sugar by Fresh, Cleopatra by Tocca

December 8, 2009

Insta-Birthday Candles.

How many times would this be handy? From online store Poketo! (and found via the Dieline) here are 5-minute candles. I love the idea of candles in your pocket (but that look like matchbooks). Genius. And pretty reasonable too, for that ease of design and ease of transportability.

December 3, 2009


Smart and clean ads for YoSushi (sushi bar and restaurant) that I found on one of my new favorite blogs, AdGoodness.

November 30, 2009

Trouble Gum.

Finally I went to see the Society of Illustrator's Children Book Art show on Tuesday night. I made it just in time as the show officially closed on Wednesday. In awe of everything as usual and wanted to jet straight to Pearl Paint on my way home to Brooklyn to buy new watercolors so I could start those children's illustrations I want to start doing every year at around this time. For real, this time, I am going to start. Perhaps if I put it out to the world (aka the internet) then this will be the year I really do this. Perhaps a new idea to refresh this blog of mine. Perhaps.It's crazy how such inspiration stems from the root of my love of art – the basic beauty of children's book illustrations (which, most times isn't that basic at all – it's detailed and wonderful).

My favorite of the show is the book above, Trouble Gum, by Matthew Cordell. Of course I had to check out his website and see what else he has done and ended up reading some of his blog too. Great clean work and he even does illustrations for his wife's YA books (what a talented family they are!). Check 'em all out here.

November 25, 2009

Kate Spade 20.

Ah, Kate Spade, how you make me happy. Check out this link and roll your mouse over EVERYTHING! Just a simple little animation for each number (don't forget to click for more at the bottom of the first page) but enough to keep you smiling – before getting into your car and driving 4 hours north, along with lots of other people driving north. Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving weekend. May it be just the right amount of time with your family and friends, whether you are staying put and hosting dinner yourself, going out to eat or traveling.

I know I can't wait to spend time with my family (some of which I haven't seen since LAST Thanksgiving), seeing how my lil' cousin has grown (from two years old to three! She is going to be a lil' chatterbox, I am sure of it), seeing good friends from home and overall just enjoying delicious home-cooked meals.

November 24, 2009

Anthropologie Household Monsters.

It's a pretty safe bet that whether I walk into an Anthropologie store or peruse their catalog online or in hand, I am going to ooohhh and aaahhh and wish for almost all of everything I see. This recent trip to their site was no different as I discovered some hysterical large-scale embroidered canvas pieces by artist Ruth Ashton. Check them all out here.

November 23, 2009

After Party: Chandon.

Seeing this commercial on TV yesterday afternoon was such a breath of fresh air. Not only do I think that most television commercials are lacking inventiveness but also in the alcohol industry around the holiday time, they can be pretty stale. A typical holiday-looking event with pretty people drinking and having a splendid time on some private rooftop. Bo-ring.

Well, Chandon changed my view with this commercial yesterday. It started off looking as typical (previously mentioned fancy roofdeck party and pretty people) but took it a step further. Using the elements that make up the top of their champagne bottle (the wire, foil and cork) their ad people created two fabulous characters who do a wonderful dance around their own party setting. Check it out here (stills are above) to get the full effect.